In the interest of journalistic integrity, I went on Chatroulette this morning to verify its obsolescence. Time it took for someone to show me his unit: 10 seconds. I clicked the “next” button. There, in extreme close-up, was a penis. I clicked “next” again. And there was no one there at all. Just vast, empty nothingness. All that’s left of a once great civilization is dead air and a bunch of guys sitting around with their pants off. It was a wild ride, a magical, you had to be there time in human history, when it seemed everyone in the world was as close as a mouse click. We’ll remember you as you once were, young and full of song. But the party is over. And you can’t build an empire on dicks.
I think the Chatroulette phenomenon is a perfect example of the state of the internet today. The problems the tech scene is trying to fix today aren’t real problems. In fact, they’re solutions to problems that the internet has created. Humans have existed for hundreds of thousands of years with relatively little social and communication needs. We need our friends, we need our family, and we need to put our skills to work and make money. Some of us also need ideas. But all of us need (and only need as a basic fundamental human necessity) friends and family that we emotionally connect with in person on a daily basis. The pub solved that problem hundreds of years ago. The telephone solved that even better as our families moved apart. And now we have email in addition to the telephone and personal blogs for those of us who want to be public.
We’ve solved our basic fundamental need of intimate communication with friends, family, and colleagues. Anything more than this is going to be gimmicks and micro-solutions to the last 5% of a problem. And I’m even lumping Facebook into the gimmick section due to the fact that only a small fraction of us want to be public within the confines of one company in everything we do.
We, as social animals, are actually relatively simple creatures with relatively simple needs. Technology is moving much, much faster than our brains and social needs can evolve.